Dear Nevada Democratic Party:

If it’s not too much trouble, could you folks find some additional candidates that I don’t have to hold my nose to vote for? And would it have killed you to run some ads for the guy you’re running for Governor? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think anything can stop Sandoval from getting a second term, but you guys haven’t said much of anything about the Democratic candidate beyond the fact that he is fortunate enough to have the last name “Goodman.” It’s like you guys aren’t even trying.

In fact, in general if you guys could start acting like Democrats, that would be great. You know, you could stand up for things like reproductive rights and getting the freaking spooks to at least give lip service to the 4th and 5th Amendments? Oh hey, and if you’d kindly admit that the War on [brown people using] Drugs is a failure, that would be great.

Sincerely, ShortWoman.

In Closing: Everybody PANIC!!!; that’s Mrs. Bach; any time in jail can easily become a death sentence, no conviction required.

I’m not actually an optimist, but I play one on the Internet

The problem with the unexpected is that, well, it’s unexpected.

A decade ago, some guy was running for Senate in Illinois as a Democrat. I’m not sure anybody thought he had a chance — after all, he’d already lost in a bid for a seat in the House — until the unexpected happened. In this case, details about the divorce of the front running Republican from his very pretty actress wife happened to be disclosed by the courts to the Chicago Tribune. And the details regarding his sex life were absolutely devastating.

The end result of this *ahem* unfortunate turn of events is that the Republican candidate was replaced by someone deemed “more electable,” and the underdog Democrat went on to win a seat in the Senate. Just a few years later, that man went on to become President of the United States.

So, when Serious People say that a Democrat’s only shot at winning is “a Republican screwup“, remember that stranger things have happened.

A quick break: To bring you a metric ton of NSA and NSAreform” and Ed Snowden and NSA related items.

And, In Closing: on the Class of 2014; someone noticed; given up; most popular Google searches by state; and ironic photos.

Shorties Academy

One last thing on Microbiology: We have perfectly good vaccines that prevent deadly diseases. Use them!

Freakin NSA: please, help yourself to the links.

Can you feel the love tonight: A wolf falls in love.

This is apparently a thing: Maybe I should have waited until Caturday, but heck, enjoy some Catios.

TIL: Anderson Cooper is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt — which means he is of Old Money. And that’s not even the most interesting thing about him. He was a model as a boy, and a CIA intern for a couple summers.

Radley is Back: And he reminds us that cops (and others) have no expectation of privacy in a public place.

Politics as Usual: Words of wisdom for Republicans and Democrats.

Study proves fruits and vegetables are good for you: duh.

Let’s end happy: A nice news story with a happy ending and a pretty picture.

Shutdown, Debt Ceiling, and Hostage Taking

So here we are over a week into the Government Shutdown. From where I sit, it sure looks like the Republicans are being more like RepubliCANTs, completely unwilling to negotiate in a world where negotiation doesn’t mean “give us everything we want.” Not that the DemocRATS are angels here, please understand. Right now nobody likes Congress very much. Individual states like Nevada are chewing their collective fingernails (and probably, secretly, making contingency plans).

It’s gotten to the point where the markets are accounting for the fact that next week, the Government may well stop paying interest on the National Debt. That’s what the debt ceiling means in real life. If our nation stops paying the bills, it’s reasonable for holders of our debt to decide it’s not worth as much, and might even be worthless. Everybody always thought “oh that would never happen, it would be too catastrophic!” Now our [Republican] elected officials are falling over themselves to say it wouldn’t be that bad. “Oh jinkies, it might be a good thing!” Oh yeah? Tell that to China. Turns out they are our biggest foreign creditor.

Looking for a silver lining? At least big corporate mergers that enrich hedge fund managers and executives at the expense of employees and consumers may have to slow down a tweak.

Let’s hope enough moderate Republicans decide they don’t want to preside over our nation going into default.

In Closing: Securing the internet from the NSA; Student loans a drag on housing; Lief Erickson; USMC reading list; Jimmy Carter on the Middle Class; keeping a schedule on a crappy job; if part time employment spiked prior to Obamacare, how did Obamacare cause it?; pay no attention to the next trade pact that’s not going to be good for American workers.

“Oh No, Say It Ain’t So, Joe”

B000444Today, I got a letter from Joe Biden. I was kind of excited when I saw it. He asked about my family and how my classes were going… No, not really. He wanted money for the DSCC, “the only organization solely dedicated to electing and reelecting Democrats to the Senate.”

So in short, here’s my reply: Sure, Joe, do you want me to make that check out to Democracy for America or MoveOn? Because the DNC, DSCC, DNCC, and other ‘official’ Democratic groups aren’t getting any more of my money until you start representing my interests!

Want my money? Well Joe, you’re the head of the Senate. Make those idiots actually stand up and talk when they threaten filibuster. You don’t need Harry Reid’s permission to do that, do you?

Here’s another place you can start: Throw some support behind Senator Warren’s bill to revive Glass-Steagal! Heck, Sandy Weill said almost exactly a year ago that it needed to be done, and he was the guy who forced the Feds to repeal it. Funny how we didn’t have a financial catastrophe in the decades it was law. You don’t suppose….?

Maybe you could personally use some of your “pull” in the administration to at least slow down the mad acceleration towards a police state. For example, if we stop spying on citizens, then we have noting to fear from guys like Anonymous or Ed Snowden (btw, you do know that trying to prevent him seeking asylum is kinda a violation of international law?). Another example, maybe get the “Justice” Department to back of marijuana prosecutions in places where voters have decriminalized it? Instead, maybe “Justice” could start prosecuting employers who hire undocumented workers, often violating other labor laws in the process? You don’t even have to pass an immigration “reform” bill to do that! We do have millions of Americans out of work who — assuming those jobs actually pay a living wage (yeah ha I know right?) — might like to have those jobs.

Speaking of “reform” bills, Joe, I would like to register my disappointment once again in the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.” Ok, yes, probably better than nothing. Yes, thanks for the no-deductible birth control pills. However, the solution to soaring prices for health insurance was mandatory health insurance with no public option: forcing us to pay up to the profitable companies that got us into this mess. Let me recycle some links from the other day on that, and an ancient post. That’s like doubling down on a pair of deuces. This one is easy enough to fix if you can find the political will: support Alan Grayson’s “Buy into Medicare” plan. What was it you heard when you guys were trying to ram ACA through? “No socialized medicine, and don’t touch my Medicare?” I bet Medicare’s cost per person would go down if young, healthy people were allowed to enroll!

You official Democrats have disappointed me on these issues as well as student loan reform, environmental issues, the farm bill, the Sequester, failing to let the Bush tax cuts lapse, failing to close Gitmo, not even trying to fix the problems the Supreme Court found in the Voting Rights Act or Citizens United, and so many other things I just can’t keep track of them all anymore.

I’ll probably still keep voting for you guys, because I don’t really see that the other party is going to run anyone I can vote for without self-loathing.

But don’t count on my check.

In Closing: Malala is back, and she has a posse!; and didn’t Trayvon also have the right to stand his ground? After all, some strange guy with a gun was following him home!

Gridlock and Opportunity

The next session of Congress is either going to be complete gridlock, or an era of great bi-partisanship. I say this based on this chart from Nate Silver. In case you’ve forgotten, that’s Nate “the man who got all the numbers right when everybody else got them horribly wrong” Silver:

 

Let me point out the obvious. It takes 218 votes to get most things done in the House of Representatives. Neither the mainstream Republicans nor the Democrats (with or without the Blue Dog crowd) have those votes. The Tea Party has become a de-facto third party. To get anything done, there will have to be a coalition and/or a compromise: either between the two parties, or with the Tea Partiers. This should be obvious to both Mr. Boehner and Ms. Pelosi. The President already said it out loud. As Mr. Silver points out, on this and pretty much every bill in the next session, Mr. Boehner “will need to win the support of at least some liberal Democrats. And a bill that wins the support of some liberal Democrats will be an even harder sell to Mr. Boehner’s Republicans. For each vote that he picks up from the left, he could risk losing another from his right flank.”

Nobody knows if the glass is half-empty or half-full. Was Mr. Boehner’s ill-named “Plan B” a symptom of his increasing irrelevance, or an attempt to enter a Post- Norquist political world? Will the 113th Congress be a more sane and bi-partisan body, or a place where the right hand and the left hand quite literally don’t know what the other is doing? Let’s hope for sanity.

In Closing: military research saving lives on battlefields and eventually on American streets; why re-invent public education with things we aren’t even sure work when we can just crib off Massachusetts?; yeah, it turns out there were good guys with guns at Columbine and it didn’t help (at least the good guys didn’t injure more students); and maybe this deserves more thought.

Let the Spin Begin

Ok, the good news first. Poverty is down ever so slightly. The number of people without health insurance is down, despite the fact that health insurance premiums went up 4% (far exceeding the official inflation rate).  The bad news is that  typical American income is down for the 4th year in a row. Adjusted for inflation, we’re back to the Clinton Administration.

Sit back and watch the two parties fight about what this means and who is to blame.

In Closing: converted RINO; crass; type 3 diabetes; turns out that training makes for better employees, who knew?!?!?; apples and oranges; voter suppression works too well; and the rules.

A Plea for Civility

Can we please all stop with the name-calling?

Seriously, I don’t care if you’re liberal or conservative, we need to stop hurling around insulting names. It doesn’t do a bit of good, certainly doesn’t persuade anyone to your way of thinking, and it makes everyone who agrees with you look like an asshole.

I’m tired of hearing about Mooselini, the Chimpinator, McLame, Speaker Boner, Rummy, General Betray-us, Tweetie, Slick Willy, George Snuffleupagus, the O-Bomber, Wiener’s wiener, Rahmstein, Bachman-Poptart-Underdrive, Al Frankenstein, the Koch-heads, Dumb-o-craps, Repuglicants, MoDoDo, GingGrinch, and any other creative insults you can think of. Can’t we refer to people with their names and/or titles like civilized adults? “The President,” or “Senator So-and-so”, or “Mr. Clark”?

Now, I will concede a handful of exceptions. The Governator earned his nickname fair and square. So did “Heckuva Job” Brownie — the President himself gave him that nickname. To refer to Pat “Go F*** Yourself” Leahy is a compliment to his restraint. The Cyborg Dick Cheney, well, he is a cyborg.

The rest of it? Knock it off, already! It’s a distraction from real issues, like our eroding Constitutional rights, the developing American oligarchy, the endangered social safety net, the disappearing middle class, our crumbling infrastructure, the failed War on Drugs; our anemic economy, and the elimination of women‘s rights.

In Closing: Dam, dam, dam; Hollywood‘s out of ideas; the most sensible thing I’ve read about the Wal-Mart ruling; it’s a good start; and exercises at work.

Shorties Highway

A few things about the Economy: Standard of Living; broke; working for nothing.

Wonder Wonder, Wonder Woman!: The History of the Universe as told by Wonder Woman.

Is it time to stop?: I don’t know.

Um, Yeah: Stock photos.

A sign of the Catpocalypse: Hello Kitty Hell tells you to buy Hello Kitty stuff by the 31st to support earthquake and tsunami relief.

A few things about Politics: Dems, Ur Doin It Wrong; Budget; Tax the Super Rich or Face a Revolution; Tom Hartmann.

Springtime in Vegas: Mojave Max says so.

Adapting: Sake.

And now for something cute: Smokey the Purring Cat. I bet that will wake you in the middle of the night!

Slight Overreaction

I’m having trouble figuring out where to begin on this one.

So Steven Seagal is now filming his little cop-show in Arizona, with Everyone’s Least Favorite Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Mr. Seagal just happened to be along on a little raid of a suspected cock-fighting operation. Rather than do something rational like knock on the door yelling “THIS IS THE POLICE AND WE HAVE A WARRANT!”, somebody decided that the most prudent way to conduct this operation was to have “armored vehicles, including a tank” come through the neighborhood and knock one wall of the suspect’s home down. Neighbors panicked and called 911. It turns out that the suspect was alone and unarmed in the home. In the end, “Thousands of dollars in damages were made to the property and 115 birds were euthanized on the spot.”

Now, I’m going to ignore the nagging suspicion that maybe the chickens were in fact run over by the tank.

I’m even going to ignore the fact that the suspect in this case is still a suspect — innocent until proven guilty and all — who has just had his home made uninhabitable and un-securable. Nor will he be able to make arrangements for repairs to make his home secure until he can post bail or be found innocent. In other words, he’d better plan on never seeing any of his possessions again.

I’ll even ignore the undue fear created by police officers in the community, the role of the TV cameras, and all the controversy that curls around Sheriff Arpaio like Rapunzel’s hair.

Here’s my question: in a day and age of budget cuts everywhere, how and why does any civilian law enforcement agency own and maintain a TANK?

Seriously, with cash-strapped state and local governments everywhere you look, don’t you think that just maybe the tanks and other armored vehicles should be the first thing to go? Is it really that important to be able to knock down the occasional wall? And if so, wouldn’t it be more cost effective to rent an tank team from the local National Guard unit for the afternoon?

Not even Radley Balko knew what to say about this one. What a shame he’s moving to HuffPo.

In closing: HowTo; Sahara; Democrats don’t do P90X?; zombie nuclear dump; flipflop; Thorium; who could have thought that “metabolic abnormalities in obese teens may relate to poor diets”??; Busted has a point; shirt; uncertainty; and that’s it for the day.